Road-testing a 1979 Honda Accord Time Capsule
Japanese magazine’s editor grabbed his camera to shoot a road test of 1979 Honda Accord with only 15,000 miles on the clock.
The Honda Accord was originally conceived to compete in the American pony car market alongside the Mustang. However, as the fuel crisis in America took its toll, Honda did the smart thing and made it the logical extension of the Civic’s success. The first generation Accord was larger than the Civic, but also focussed on fuel efficiency and economy while bringing things like cloth seats, intermittent wipers, and a radio as standard equipment.
In this video from the HubNut YouTube channel, Ian Seabrook got some seat time with this prime example of a first generation Accord hatchback that he’s featured in Retro Japanese magazine. This 1979 Honda Accord has the 1.6-litre engine, and Seabrook gives an example of how thoughtful Honda was about the design of the car by pointing out, “It’s a transverse overhead-cam engine. The engine is over on the passenger side for best of weight balance, and gearbox, which is a bit lighter, is over on this side. So if there is one person it, it should be nice and balanced. Everyone else tends to put the engine the other side, other than Mitsubishi.”
Inside, Seabrook shows us how well laid out the controls are and how, amazingly for a 1979 economy bred car, it has dashboard warning lights notifying when it’s time for tire rotations and oil changes. Upon starting the engine, Seabrook sums up just how good the Accord was for its time when he says, “Listen to that, it sounds fuel injected! What I love about Hondas is this wonderful engineered feel, and straight away everything feels nice and light. There’s no power steering but you don’t need it.”
It’s the overall package that always separates Honda from the rest in a hard-fought market. Seabrook sums that up by telling us, “It just feels tight, it feels quiet, the ride is a little jiggly, perhaps, but this is a particularly bad bit of road. 5-speed gearbox… feels like a nice tall cruising ration as well. This is why the Japanese came to dominate – because they build cars remarkably well.”